5 min read
Client Spotlight: Ezidebit Helps Sarah's Business Put Its Best Paw Forward
What does trainer Sarah Givens like so much about dogs?
"They’re such forgiving creatures, just living in the moment,” Sarah says. “They can have the worst history and they don’t care. Once their stuff’s done, they’re just there paying attention, not worrying like humans do about ‘What if this and that happens.
"They're happiest when they’re just chilling out, doing their thing in each moment and I find that really awesome."
Originally considering becoming a vet, Sarah always wanted to work with animals but after finishing school, she turned her attention to becoming a certified dog trainer rather than going to university.
Sarah cut her teeth as a trainer using her own nine-year-old Maltese Shih Tzu to pass her assessments, which was challenging, as her dog had no previous training.
After receiving her accreditation, Sarah worked as a senior dog trainer for a boarding kennel and soon decided she wanted to do things her own way. With some encouragement from her partner, she set up her own business and after a move from Wollongong to Queensland, went full-time.
Her training business, Best Paw Forward Dog Training, offers a range of services including in-home consultations, group obedience training, board and train, and online and remote consultations.
Board and train is very much in demand, where Sarah will take in a dog to reside with her for a period of time for more intense training. She is now booked out until the end of the year. Sarah loves the variety in her work, with no two dogs or owners being the same.
“Online training is becoming a growth area,” Sarah says. “Because a lot of people are shift workers or are unable to attend regular classes I’m doing a lot more online consultations via Skype. I can talk to them about their dog and share tips and online videos for them to use.”
Like many small business owners, Sarah has had to deal with the challenge of income not always being reliable. When she was running group classes previously, the bulk of her customers were paying for six weeks up-front, but not all dogs were progressing at the same pace.
“I decided to change the structure of the classes so that people could start and stop when it suited them and they had the results they were after,” Sarah says. “This is where using Ezidebit allowed me to do that. I could have the client fill out paperwork, we organise the payment schedule and then the money is deposited into my bank account from Ezidebit."
“I could never have kept track of all the payments otherwise. Manually it was proving very difficult. I also love how I can take payments on my phone using the EziOnline platform, so I don’t have to pay fees for a payment machine I would rarely use.”
Sarah says that she would highly recommend other business owners use Ezidebit. She likes the ability to still have control over payments where she can schedule client debits on a day that suits them, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Cash flow management will become even more important to Sarah as her business grows. She and her partner are planning to buy a property and turn it in to a dog kennel facility where she can take five dogs at a time for board and train.
“Each dog will have an actual bedroom, so it won’t be a cold and sterile environment - we want them to feel like they are living at home. At the same time I would like to open a doggie daycare facility and employ a couple of other dog trainers so that the dogs can learn to be social and play nicely under supervision of people who know what they’re doing.”
A particular dog Sarah was able to turn around from a behaviour point of view was a little dog named Jade. She had spent the first nine months of her life housebound by her previous owners, not through deliberate neglect, but through the owners never getting the dog out of the house.
“She was a nervous wreck and had never seen the outside world and would scream horribly if her new owners tried to take her for a walk or would lose her mind if she even saw another dog."
“Instead of surrendering her to the RSPCA, they were given my details and I swung into action. It took nearly three months of private lessons but we got the dog to the point where she was able to socialise with other dogs and even be happy to calmly go out on a pack walk with up to 20 others. You wouldn’t know it now but she’s happy just like any other dog.”
Does Sarah have an overall training tip for dog owners?
“Definitely. Just get started!” she says. “Don’t just sit around being despondent that your dog is naughty or shy. Contact a trainer and start practising. Your dog is not going to magically change their behaviour. Every dog of every age and breed can be trained.”
Best Paw Forward Dog Training
Best Paw Forward Dog Training is based in Springfield, Queensland, and services all of the Ipswich and South East Queensland area. It provides many different training options from private lessons and group classes to board and train solutions, to get you the results you are looking for.